Best Air Compressor Reviews and Buying Guide for 2023

“The best air compressor will help you save on contractor fees you’d otherwise spend on simple remodeling jobs in your home. A versatile tool, you can use it to power your air tools or inflate your car’s tires. Find out which the top 5 air compressor tools are plus how to buy one through this detailed guide.”

Welcome to Best Air Compressor Reviews and Buying Guide of 2023. If you’re looking for a new air compressor, you’ve probably figured out that there thousands of models from different brands to choose from. Why scour the internet researching each tool after the other when you can find the right one through air compressor reviews? We have done all the heavy lifting for you to ensure that you’ll find the best air compressor tool within a few minutes rather thank a couple of days.

Air Compressor Introduction

What is an air compressor?

An air compressor is tool that converts electric or gas energy into compressed air. It features a built in motor, pump and tank among other parts which work in harmony to convert electricity or gas energy into compressed air.

Air compressors are used for a variety of jobs. They are primarily designed to power air tools such as air brushes and nail guns. Larger compressors can run heavy duty air powered tools such as sanders and angle grinders with ease. Other than powering air tools, compressors can also be used to inflate tires, air mattresses and other inflatable items and toys. Some people actually use them as blowers.

Best Air Compressor Reviews and Buying Guide

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Befinits of using air compressor

Most people often wonder, “Why use an air compressor to power my tools?” There are many benefits to using these tools. They include the following:

  • Compressed air produces large amounts of force. This makes compressors the best drivers for heavy duty tools.
  • Compressed air is stored energy. Once the compressor tank is full, you can use the pressurized air within any time even when electricity is out.
  • Air compressors are now affordable, smaller and highly portable.

There are also many applications when it comes to the air compressors.

  • Inflate car and bicycle tires
  • Spray painting
  • Cleaning with an air gun
  • Operate a nail gun for carpentry and crafts work
  • Construction
  • Industrial uses which include general manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation and wastewater treatment, etc…

Our Best Air Compressor Reviews and Buying Guide of 2023 will help you find the best tool that fits your specific needs. Each product is carefully selected based on real customer reviews and how well it holds up in various work environments. In this review and guide, you’ll get to know more about specific manufacturers along with their top offerings in 2023. By the end of this guide, you should have enough information to enable you to make a sound investment in a value air compressor.

Comparison Table For Top 5 Best Air Compressor

Air CompressorPower SourceAir FlowShippingEditor's RatingPrice
PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor with 13-Piece Accessory Kit
Electric3.5 CFMFREE Shipping4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)See on Amazon
Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 HP Air Compressor
Electric3.3 CFMFREE Shipping4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)See on Amazon
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
Electric4.2 CFMFREE Shipping4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)See on Amazon
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
Corded-Electric2.6 CFMFREE Shipping4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)See on Amazon
California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0 Hp 6.3-Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor
Electric3.8 CFMFREE Shipping4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)See on Amazon

Top 5 Best Air Compressor Reviews

Below are 5 detail reviews of the top rated air compressors that have been high rated from customers.

Porter Cable C2002-WK Oil Free UMC Pancake Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

Great for DIY jobs, the Porter Cable C2002-WK from Porter Cable has a low profile pancake style tank with rubber feet. Its oil free pump ensures that you spend little on maintenance. With a 150 PSI tank, this air compressor supplies air to your tools longer without need for refilling. It includes 13 accessories that allow you to start working with it out of the box.

  • 150 PSI max pressure rating for longer tool run time
  • Low profile lightweight design
  • Oil free pump
  • Low amp 120 volt motor
  • 13 accessories kit
Check The Price on Read My Full Review About Porter Cable C2002-WK!
  • 15 minute break in period needed which is common for most air compressors

The Porter Cable C2002-WK air compressor is makes a good addition to your tools collection if you carry out frequent DIY jobs. It can easily handle lightweight to medium intensity jobs such as spay painting. Its compact build makes it a good option if you have little storage space. Porter cable offers 3 years limited warranty to minimize on repairs and maintenance costs.

Makita MAC700 Big Bore 2.0 Hp Air Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The Makita MAC700 big bore air compressor features a 2.0 horsepower motor which offers fast recovery times and handles even the toughest jobs thrown at it. The oil lubricated pump features the famous big bore cast iron cylinder which allows the compressor to run at low RPMs while continuously providing consistent pressure output. A 2.6 hot dog style tank set on rubber based feet continuously supplies your tools with pressurized air and recovers fast after air is depleted.

  • Big bore cast iron cylinder offers fast recovery
  • Low RPM operation keeps motor and pump cool even when working on tough jobs
  • Powerful motor with low amp draw provides power and reduces circuit breaker trips
  • Oil lubricated pump has extended life
Check The Price on Read My Full Review About Makita MAC700!
  • Heavy for most people but can be easily carried by two people thanks to built in roll bar handle

Makita MAC700 big bore air compressor makes a good option for contractors who regularly work on high intensity jobs. Its low RPM operation enhances its durability and roll bar handle eases transportation and protects on board components. It comes with one year warranty and 30 days replacement policies.

Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 Hp Air Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The second air compressor from Makita to feature in our best air compressor reviews and buying guide for 2023, the Makita MAC2400 is a step up from the MAC700. With a powerful 2.5 horsepower motor, you are assured of consistent powerful output for even the toughest jobs. It features twin stacked 4.2 tanks which offer longer tool run time and great recovery thanks to the cast iron big bore pump cylinders. Like the MAC700, its oil lubricated pump remains cool even if it runs for extended periods.

  • High horsepower motor with low amp draw ensures consistent powerful pressure output
  • Twin stack tanks for longer tool run times
  • Cast iron big bore cylinder runs at low RPM but offers fast recovery
  • Oil lubricated pump with large air filter remains cool wile operating and highly durable
Check The Price on Read My Full Review About Makita MAC2400!
  • Heavy construction which can be easily transported using the built in roll bar handle

Makita MAC2400 air compressor is a great tool for general contractors who handle medium to high intensity jobs. Its powerful output allows one or two workmen to operate their air tools simultaneously saving time. It comes with a 1 year warranty as well as 30 day returns or replacement policy.

Dewalt DWFP55126 6 Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The Dewalt DWFP55126 air compressor is a good choice for homeowners who regularly undertake light to medium intensity jobs. It’s designed to provide consistent output while minimizing maintenance costs. A 6 gallon 165 PSI pancake style tank will store high amounts of pressurized air for continuous output. The built in 0.9 horsepower motor coupled with an oil free pump enable fast recovery time for continuous use.

  • Oil free pump makes the air compressor easy to maintain
  • 6 gallon 165 PSI tank with high flow regulator for continuous air supply to your tools
  • Built in cord wrap for easy storage
  • 0.9 horsepower motor is easy to start even in cold weather
Check The Price on Read My Full Review About Dewalt DWFP55126!
  • The couplers end to get loose causing leaks. If so make use of the warranty provided for repairs or replacement.

The Dewalt DWFP55126 is one of the best air compressors for light to medium intensity jobs. Best suited for the at home DIY enthusiast, it will gracefully handle common jobs such as tire inflation and driving your favorite lightweight nail gun. Dewalt offers a three year warranty plus a 90 day money back guarantee on this tool.

California Air Tools CAT-6310 Ultra Quiet Air Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The California Air Tools CAT-6310 offers a perfect blend of lightweight construction, efficiency, low noise output, portability and durability. These characteristics make it a good choice for home environments where light to medium intensity jobs are common. It features a 1.0 horsepower motor with peak output of 2.0 horsepower for continuous pump operation. A large 6.3 gallon tank with fast recovery time allows for continuous tool operation. A wheeled horizontal tank design with handle makes it easy to cart within your workshop.

  • Quiet operation thanks to low RPM motor
  • Light construction with wheeled base for easy transport
  • Oil free dual pump is efficient, durable and easy to maintain
  • Thermal overload protector and low amp draw extend motor life
Check The Price on Read My Full Review About California Air Tools CAT-6310!
  • This air compressor produces a strong odor when in use. Always use it in a well ventilated work environment or outdoors if possible.
There is a newer model of this item:

California Air Tools 5510SE Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free 1.0-HP 5.5-Gallon Steel Tank Air Compressor

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Best Air Compressor Summary

Finding the best air compressor requires matching the tools features with your needs. Each air compressor in our top 5 best air compressor reviews has a unique set of features that make it best suited for specific jobs.

If you’re a general contractor that works on high intensity jobs, the Makita MAC700 or Makita MAC2400 makes a good option. Their heavy duty build, high horsepower output motors and low RPM operation make them ideal for tough job environments.

If you simply want an air compressor for your home DIY tasks, the Dewalt, Porter Cable and California air tools compressors are good choices. Even then, you’ll need to consider features such as size, noise output and power output to find the best compressor for your needs.

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Types of Air Compressors

Before investing in the best air compressor, you’ll need to make several considerations regarding your work environment, power output needed to operate your tools, the types of jobs you wish to undertake and space available among other things. This will help you decide which kind of air compressor you’ll need. Here are the three basic types.

Stationary air compressors

As their name suggests, these air compressors are designed to remain in a single location once installed. They are bulky heavyweight units that offer high power output. This naturally means that they also require high power input. These are a good option if you run a huge workshop or garage where work is done in-house.

  • High power output to run heavy duty tools
  • High PSI ratings allows for use of multiple tools simultaneously
  • Offers longer tool run times
  • Huge space requirements
  • Only suited for in-house jobs
  • High power consumption

Portable air compressors

These are smaller versions of the stationary air compressors. They are designed for both general contractors and DIY enthusiasts with small workshops. Their lightweight construction allows them to be carried by one or two people. Despite their lightweight construction, some of the best portable air compressors have high power output allowing you to use basic air tools with them.

  • Highly portable compact designs
  • Most have over 100 PSI rating making them suitable for use with light air powered tools
  • Fairly inexpensive compared to their stationary counterparts
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Poorly designed units prone to constant breakdowns


These are ultraportable air compressors designed for the sole purpose of inflating tires and other inflatable toys and items. They usually draw power from an AC or DC source and come with a 12 volt battery. Their lightweight design makes them easy to store away in your car. Most come with extra features including nozzles and lights.

  • Lightweight design for easy portability
  • Low power input
  • Low PSI rating makes them unsuitable for air powered tools operation

How to choose the Best Air Compressor

Air compressors are unique tools that can help you save money on contractor repairs fees or even help you start you own small general contractor business. The goal of our best air compressor reviews and buying guide is to help you find out how to choose one and, give you the top 5 air compressors.

Now that you know the recommended products, it’s time to find out what you should look at when choosing your next air compressor. Here’s the full list.

Power supply

Air compressor tools operate on electricity or gasoline. All of the units in our review are electricity operated.

Electricity powered compressors with motors producing 2.0 horsepower or less require 110V to 120V input. For higher horsepower output motors, 220V to 240V power outlets are needed. For the tire inflator, a 12V power source is all you need. The major advantages of electricity powered compressors are their suitability tasks that are performed inside, as they make low noise output, zero fumes emission and usually lightweight, whereas its negative point is that they are unsuitable for heavy duty tasks.

Gas powered compressors are usually more powerful compared to the electricity powered types. They’re usually bulkier, heavier and noisier. They make excellent choices for contractors working in remote sites where electricity isn’t guaranteed. They emit fumes so it’s ideal that you use them in well ventilated environments.


This rating refers to how much power the air compressors motor can generate. This can range anywhere between less than 1.0 hp to 500 hp. Horsepower affects the air compressors CFM with those with higher hp rating generating high CFM.


This means Pounds per Square Inch which is a rating indicating the amount of pressure a given air compressor can produce. For example, a compressor with 135 PSI can operate a nailing gun which requires 90 PSI.


This means Cubic Feet per Minute. This rating determines the number of tools you can operate simultaneously with your air compressor. CFM is usually paired with PSI. For example, 2.35 CFM at 90 PSI means that the compressor can operate an air powered tool rated at 2.35 CFM at a pressure rating of 90 PSI.


This is a measure of the air compressor’s noise output. A high dBA can cause ear damage.


Weight is a major factor to look at when you’re purchasing a portable air compressor. Many air compressors will fall within a weight range of between 20 and 100 lbs. when considering the compressors weight, look at features such as roll bars, carrying handles and built in wheels which make it easy to transport.

Tank size

Air compressor tank size is measured using two units, gallons and PSI. Your goal should be to find an air compressor with a high PSI rating as well as high gallon capacity. This ensures that the tank is able to store high amounts of pressurized air that allowing it to run several tools simultaneously for extended periods.

Tank shapes

Air compressors usually come in four tank shapes.

  1. Pancake tanks feature a round upper with flat bottoms. These are compact tanks with a capacity of between 4 and 6 gallons. Their low profile design makes them a good choice if you have limited storage space.
  2. Hot dog / pontoon tank shape is characterized by a long cylindrical tank placed horizontally. They usually come in 2 to 3 gallon capacities.
  3. Twin stack tank shape features two hot dog tanks stacked horizontally. This tank design allows for higher tank capacity while at the same time create a compact unit.
  4. Wheelbarrow tank shape features a large high capacity hotdog shape tank that’s set on a wheeled base. It can feature a single tank or dual tanks.

Type of pump

Air compressor pumps harness natural air and compress it within the tank. They are categorized as either single stage or two stage pumps. Single stage pumps will generate about 155 PSI while the two stage pumps will generate about 175 PSI if the compressor’s rating is placed at 100 PSI.

Pumps can also be categorized between oil free and oil lubricated. The main difference is that oil lubricated pumps make use of oil for lubrication as well as a coolant. Compressors with oil lubricated pumps tend to be heavier but are also considered more durable.

Air compressor brands

There are hundreds of air compressor brands to choose from, the top brands of air compressors that are Porter-Cable, Makita, Dewalt, Bosch, California, Senco, Craftsman, Husky, Ingersoll Rand, Bostitch. Also there are another brands of commercial air compressors for sale as Campbell Hausfeld, Champion, Coleman, Curtis, Devilbiss, Emglo, Hitachi, Ridgid, Sanborn, etc… When deciding which brand to buy from, consider factors such as:

  • Recognition
  • History
  • Types of tools and equipment it manufactures
  • Customer support
  • Warranty offered on the air compressor


Today, it’s easy to find an air compressor that costs less than $150. When considering price as a factor, keep in mind the types of features you want, your budget and any future maintenance costs you might have to incur.

Additional specifications

Being a motorized tool, you’ll want to consider whether the manufacturer has implemented features that enable your air compressor to protect itself from damage and extend its life. Some of the considerations you’ll need to make include:

  • Thermal protection such as air cooling systems and thermal overload switch
  • Whether the air compressor is ASME Certified
  • On board protection features such as a roll cage that protects delicate components such as gauges and meters from knocks

Tips of Using Air Compressor

When using your air compressor, observing the best safety measures will ensure that there are no accidents within your working environment. It also ensures that your air compressor lasts long. Some of the essential safety measures to observe include:

  • Wear protective clothing including cloves, goggles and ear muffs.
  • If using the compressor for industrial work, refrain from wearing loose clothing or jewelry.
  • Always plug in your air compressor into the recommended electric outlet.
  • Do not use a generator as it will damage your electric compressor.
  • Use maximum PSI recommended for specific tools.
  • Ensure that the pressure associated with the safety valve is operating properly.
  • For oil lubricated compressors, check oil level before use.
  • Use the belt guard for protection.
  • Drain tank after use to prevent corrosion due to built up moisture.
  • Disconnecting the air compressor while it is still running can damage the unit, so always remember to shut down the compressor first before disconnecting the power tool from the unit.
  • After using the compressor, make sure to clean the work area and return all the used tools back to where they should be kept.
  • Always consult the user manual when using your air compressor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the most important performance features to look at when buying a portable air compressor?

  • “The major performance features to consider when buying air compressors are PSI and recovery rating, CFM, motor horsepower, power source and tank capacity. These go hand in hand to determine the types of air powered tools you can operate with it and how much power the compressor will generate.”

2. Should I go for gas powered or electricity powered air compressors?

  • “The type you end up buying is a matter of personal preference. However, gas powered air compressors are considered more powerful and convenient for use in remote areas. Electricity powered compressors are quieter, easier to maintain and lighter.”

3. Should I drain the compressor’s air tank when it’s not in use?

  • “Not necessarily. The good thing about air compressors is that they store energy in the form of pressurized air. However, you’ll need to drain accumulated moisture from the tank to prevent rusting.”

4. How many tools can I operate with a portable air compressor simultaneously?

  • “Depending on the brand and model you buy, most modern compressors can operate one or two air powered tools simultaneously. You’ll however need couplers to attach the tools. In addition, you’ll need to consider factors such as the tool’s operating pressure rating.”

5. What accessories do I need to purchase to operate my air compressor?

  • “To operate your air compressor, you’ll need additional accessories such as the air hose and couplers which make it easy to connect the compressor to tools. Some of the reputable brands will include the necessary accessories along with the air compressor.”

6. Where can I find the best deal for a quality portable air compressor?

  • “If you’re looking for the best deal on an air compressor, a great place to look would be a major retailer like Amazon. You’d be able to compare prices, features and quality at a single spot before making your decision. You’d also be able to benefit from their returns and refund policy if the compressor doesn’t meet your needs.”

7.  How much money should I spend?

  • “Determining on just how much the budget is for an air compressor should be one of the first steps you should take when planning on buying one. One thing to remember when buying one is that you get what you pay for. Don’t think of going cheap with buying a small one for the job needed. You’ll just be unproductive. On the other hand, buying something that is too big for the intended use would be a waste of cash. So be careful on your budgeting for this one.”

8. What’s the difference in buying one rather than the other?

  • “The air compressor that you are planning to buy should fit the description of what use you have in mind for it. If you look at it that way, there is a big difference. Different compressors give out different give out different PSI’s. A small compressor intended for home use could give as much as 150 PSI while the big ones for commercial use can give more than that. If you are planning to use it for small spray guns or to fill your tire up with air, you can go for the compact ones. These have no tanks and should run continuously to get the air flowing.”

9. Should I get one with a small tank or just go for the big one?

  • “This actually still depends on what tools you are planning to use it on. If you plan to use it on tools that only need small amounts or quick shots of air, going for one with a smaller tank is fine. However, if you are going to use it for heavy duty equipment such as sanders or impact wrenches, you’re better off with a big tank to effectively power the tool.”

10. Compressors come in different horse powers, which one should I get?

  • “Normally, air compressors come with a horse power of 1.5 to 6.5. The higher the horse power, the more PSI it has which means it can carry on a heavier task.”

11. Can I move it around or just put it in one place?

  • “This is entirely up to you. The compressors that have higher volume and pressure are usually the larger and heavier ones. If you’re planning on transporting it, it’s good to take the size, power source and weight in to consideration before buying.”

12. What will the air compressor warranty cover?

  • “What the air compressor warranty covers largely depends on its manufacturer and its model. Basically, warranties cover against defects that result from workmanship and materials used to make the compressor. This enables you to get free repairs or replacements within the warranty period. Its worth remembering that there are instances when the warranty might become void such as damage or defects caused when unauthorized third parties try to repair the compressor.”


Finding the best air compressor isn’t as complicated as most people would imagine. It’s our hope that this best air compressor reviews and buying guide for 2023 has made it easy for you to identify the ideal unit for your DIY of contractor jobs. Using the detailed buying guide, you should now be able to choose one or more air compressors from our best picks. All compressors we’ve reviewed are cheap priced below $200 meaning you won’t spend a fortune to get a quality tool.